ESV - 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.
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There is probably a lot that could be said about Bartimaeus' act of throwing away his cloak, but I'll stick to what I see as most important. First of all, when Jesus calls us, He asks us to throw off our old lives and anything that might keep us from serving Him wholeheartedly, so that we're unencumbered by our former lives. In this sense, throwing the cloak away was symbolic of Bartimaeus' desire to present himself to Jesus with an expectation of giving himself completely to his Lord and Savior. Hebrews 12 says, 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Second, throwing aside the cloak was a literal decision to no longer rely on anything he may have relied on before coming face-to-face with Jesus. As a blind beggar, the cloak was quite likely one of very few material possessions, and probably essential to him for many reasons. The cloak may have been his sole source of shelter and warmth, and the most valuable item he owned. He may have also used the cloak to collect money as potential alms-givers passed by him. Law-keeping Jews were not supposed to touch him, so it was likely he spread out his cloak on the ground or over his lap to receive coins as passers by either tossed them to him or dropped them into his lap. His not being able to see would have made it difficult to catch these gifts, so the cloak would have played an important role in his being able to collect whatever was tossed to him by others who were moved to take pity on him as they beheld his humble and desperate state. In this sense, throwing aside the cloak meant that he was choosing to trust Jesus to give him a better future, so much so that he was willing to part with his most valuable asset--his only means of collecting alms to provide for his most basic needs--as he responded to the voice of Christ. Third, it was an act of faith. Bartimaeus believed that he would no longer need his cloak to collect alms and trusted that Jesus was going to heal him. His faith was such that with seemingly very little hesitancy he easily discarded the cloak--his constant companion and his closest tie to any hope of survival--as he went to Jesus, confident in the healing that was to come. I'm convinced that there is much we can learn from this passage and Bartimaeus' undaunted faith for healing, his willingness to trust Jesus for a better future, and his choice to completely throw away something that had been most valuable and necessary to him up to that point in his life. May we endeavor to value Jesus enough to do the same with anything that might distract us from complete trust in and devotion to our incredible friend and savior, Jesus.
I believe the only reason he would toss his garment aside would be his urgent desire to come to Jesus. I picture this man jumping up and running to Him, tossing whatever he was carrying aside in haste for the only One that matters.
Many who sit and beg in the streets today wrap themselves in a blanket and pull the hood of their jacket down to cover their faces. They sit cross-legged and lean forward looking down at the ground. In front of them is a cardboard sign and a vessel to collect donations. If they had a reason to have to get up and move quickly, they would have to shrug off these enveloping garments. Bartimaeus only had a brief moment when Jesus was close by. He needed to be unencumbered to move quickly into Jesus' presence. The verse does not say he discarded his cloak permanently, only that he threw it off so as have freedom of movement when Jesus called.
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